Burnley has one of the highest respiratory death rates in England

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Burnley has one of the highest respiratory death rates in England, new figures show.

Office for Health Improvements and Disparities data shows 155 people in Burnley died due to respiratory illness in 2022.

This meant there were 180 deaths per 100,000 people in the area – one of the worst rates nationally.

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Across England, 59,475 people died due to respiratory illness, the equivalent of 107 deaths per 100,000 people.

Stock image of someone smoking.Stock image of someone smoking.
Stock image of someone smoking.

It comes as RADAR analysis of the data exposes stark inequality across the country, with a higher rate of respiratory illness tracking with deprivation levels.

The charity Asthma + Lung UK said this was "appalling but not surprising", and called on the new Labour Government to invest in smoking cessation services, implement new air pollution targets, and improve diagnosis and treatment of lung conditions.

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Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at Asthma + Lung UK, said: "It's vital the new Government follows through on its commitment to reduce inequalities by urgently bringing forward the Tobacco and Vapes Bill to phase out smoking over time, alongside investment in smoking cessation services.

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"We also need to see new legal targets for air pollution levels and action to improve diagnosis and treatment for lung conditions."

The data lays bare the inequality across England, as areas with the greatest deprivation levels have higher rates of respiratory deaths.

Just one of the 10 areas with the highest rates of respiratory deaths is ranked outside the top 25 most deprived places nationally, while the 36 worst affected places are more deprived than the average area. The figures also show the top five areas are in the North West.

Ms MacFayden said people living in deprived areas are more likely to smoke, suffer from higher levels of air pollution, and live in substandard housing.

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"It is appalling but not surprising that the areas with the highest rates of respiratory-related deaths are overwhelmingly in the most deprived areas.

"This stark disparity underscores how poverty and substandard living conditions are costing people’s lives."

Nationally, there were 790,000 emergency hospital admissions due to respiratory disease in 2022-23 – up from 660,000 the year before, though still below pre-pandemic levels.

In Lancashire and South Cumbria, emergency admissions rose by 20% to 32,695.

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